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Touch-'N'-Smell Garden: A New Garden for the Visually Impaired and Disabled in Lucknow

Volume 3 Number 8 - February 2002

P. Pushpangadan, A.N. Sharga, R.K. Roy & K. Kulshreshtha

Garden Tour LucknowThe Touch 'N' Smell Garden at the Botanic Garden of NBRI (National Botanical Research Institute), Lucknow, India was dedicated to the nation by Dr. R.A. Mashelkar the Director General, CSIR (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, New Delhi) on July 21, 2001 and it is now open to the public. The Garden is designed to serve visitors who are visually impaired or disabled, so they can learn about the diversity of plants.

This garden is 0.1 hectares and is divided into four blocks each containing 8-12 beds. There is chequered tiled path around the garden to facilitate movement and minimize accidental falls especially during the rainy season and a pebble floor at certain places to indicate a change of direction. Hanging potted plants are displayed at a convenient height so that visitors in wheel chairs can touch and smell them easily. At the centre of the garden there is a kiosk with a sitting area for visitors to relax in the summer or take shelter during rain.

The plant labels and legends are written in Braille (a system of raised dots) on thin aluminium sheets and mounted on stands which include botanical name , family, origin and other relevant information in English as well as in Hindi (National language). A plan is underway to have a recorded information system for blind visitors.

The garden is first of its kind in the Indian subcontinent; other sensory gardens are to be found in Berlin (Germany), Kyoto (Japan), New York (USA), Nanjing (China), Warsaw (Poland), and London (U.K.). The Garden will fulfil the needs and aspirations of the community in the years to come.

The garden contains various types of plants which have either fragrant flowers or aromatic leaves. The notable ones are:

Trees: Eucalyptus citriodora, Melaleuca decora `Golden’, Nyctanthes arbor-tristis and Plumeria rubra `Scott Pratt’.
Shrubs: Alpinia zerumbet, Aster amellus, Brunfelsia americana, Buddleia madagascariensis, Cestrum diurnum, C. nocturnum, Eranthemum pulchellum, Gardenia jasminoides, Ixora parviflora, Jasminum pubescens, J. sambac `Bela’, J. sambac `Mogra’, J. sambac `Motia’, Lantana camara `Alba’, L. camara `Flava’, Murraya exotica, Stachytarpheta indica and Tabernaemontana coronaria `Flore-Pleno’
Climbers: Quisqualis indica and Passiflora quadrangularis
Herbaceous Plants: Coleus aromaticus, Crinum asiaticum, C. x Powellii, Cymbopogon martinii, Ocimum americanum, O. sanctum `Rama Tulsi’, O. sanctum `Krishna Tulsi’, Pancratium zeylanicum, Polianthes tuberosa `Single & Double’ and Rosa hybrida `City of Lucknow’.

P. Pushpangadan, A. N. Sharga, R. K. Roy and K. Kulshreshtha

National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI)
Rana Pratap Marg, Lucknow - 226 001
Tel: +91 0522 205831-35
Fax:+91 0522 205839/205836